Endemol Shine North America, a division of Banijay Americas, is developing an English-language version of the hit international drama “The Truth Will Out” and has attached Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director/producer Joe Berlinger to the project, it was announced today by Sharon Levy, Chief Content Officer, Endemol Shine North America.
Berlinger, who has won Emmys for HBO’s “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America,” will direct and executive produce the series, which is from fellow Banijay-owned production company Yellow Bird in Stockholm, Sweden.
“The Truth Will Out” has set record ratings for Sweden’s Kanal 5 and has become an international phenomenon for Viaplay and Amazon Prime in its first two seasons. First launching in 2018, “The Truth Will Out” is based on an original idea by the award-winning author and criminologist Leif GW Persson and is written and created by Aron Levander and Hans Jörnlind. The series stars actor and comedian Robert Gustafsson (“The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared”), and is a co-production between Yellow Bird, Viaplay and Discovery Sweden.
This new collaboration marks the second time Levy has teamed with Berlinger, as the two produced the hit Spike TV mini-series “Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio.”
“Joe is a celebrated filmmaker and true force in television that I greatly admire and someone I’ve been wanting to collaborate with again for some time now,” says Levy. “He brings unmatched expertise in telling stories where crime and law intersect and this sensational series from our colleagues in Sweden is the perfect project for us to reunite on.”
“Throughout my career as a filmmaker, my work has often focused on the ways in which human biases within the criminal justice system can have a tangible effect on how the system operates,” says Berlinger. “I was inspired by how ‘The Truth Will Out’ addressed this phenomenon and am excited about this opportunity to adapt it for domestic audiences, with the American criminal justice system specifically as a focal point.”
The first season of “The Truth Will Out” follows Peter Wendel, a Stockholm police detective with a history of mental instability, and his newly formed Cold Case Unit, a group of misfit officers tasked with solving long-unresolved murder cases. When an unknown killer leaves a message for the police stating that Sweden’s most notorious serial killer is actually a fraud, Peter and his team work to uncover the truth, but immediately find themselves at odds with the powerful group of people who had the original killer convicted in the first place.
In the second season, Peter Wendel’s Cold Case Unit has barely risen in the ranks at the police station since its last investigation. But everything changes when a colleague, a close friend of Peter’s brother, is suddenly found dead. The officer’s death sets off a chain of events which reveal that a high-ranking police commissioner known for his work against sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and violence against women is living a double life in which he exploits, rapes and degrades young women and children.
A pioneer in the genre of true crime documentaries, Berlinger has drawn attention to social justice issues in the U.S. and abroad and created landmark films such as: Brother’s Keeper, a DGA Award-winner that broke new ground with its narrative storytelling techniques; HBO’s Paradise Lost trilogy, which resulted in the freeing of the wrongly-convicted West Memphis Three after almost two decades in prison and earned Berlinger multiple Emmy and Peabody awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination; and Some Kind of Monster, an intimate portrait of Metallica that redefined the rockumentary genre, one of seven Berlinger films to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
In addition to his feature work, Berlinger has created or played pivotal roles as executive producer, director &/or producer of many acclaimed and award-winning television series. Berlinger’s passion for using media to bring attention to the issue of wrongful conviction served as the inspiration for Wrong Man for Starz, which took an in-depth look into six separate cases of alleged wrongful conviction over two seasons.
In 2019, Berlinger broke new ground for himself, igniting a global conversation by becoming the first filmmaker to cover the same subject in scripted and unscripted forms at the same time with Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which starred Zac Efron as Bundy. Both aired on Netflix and attracted enormous audiences around the world.
Berlinger’s body of social justice work expanded with the Netflix docuseries Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a victim-focused look at the sordid life of one of the world’s most vile serial pedophiles. His streak of chart-topping series on the platform continued into 2021 with two seasons of Crime Scene, which examined the social and systemic forces that allowed Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel and 1970’s Times Square to become areas of unabated criminal activity. Season three of Crime Scene is currently in production.
Season two of Berlinger’s Conversations with a Killer franchise, The John Wayne Gacy Tapes, launched in April 2022 and became his fifth straight Netflix release to debut as #1 on the platform.